July 01, 2022
By George LaBonte
For the family that loves boating together, the practice of hooking up the boat and trailer to the SUV and packing up the gang for an annual getaway plays a large roll in their lifestyle and has become a tradition passed down through the generations. Many of these trips are centered around a particular annual fish migration or season such as lobster mini-season in the Keys or scallop season on the central Gulf Coast.
The logistics involved in planning such a trip can be complicated and careful consideration needs to be given to a location to ensure the least amount of setbacks while capitalizing on the maximum amount of convenience to make the trip trouble-free and enjoyable.
While visiting the west coast to explore the Plantation on Crystal River for a TV shoot I learned from my Best Boat co-host Lori Hargrave what makes this an ideal location to plan just a family outing and why. The Hargrave family has been participating in a yearly lobster mini-season trip for many years and the tradition is one that began with Lori as a child traveling with her parents. As a mother of two boys passing on the tradition is important and she is no stranger to the many snags encountered along the way while traveling. She shared what made the Plantation such an ideal location for their next outing to Crystal River for a scallop trip.
“For starters, the convenience of a location where you can stay in one spot that provides a launch ramp and secure lot to store a trailer during your stay is ideal. This avoids the need to launch and haul each time you use the boat. A slip to tie up for a weekend is much more convenient. “
Next, access to available activities on the water is a necessity. In the case of the Crystal River area, not only are the scallops close by, snorkeling in the springs, and outstanding inshore and offshore fishing to match is all right there as evidenced by the fishing we enjoyed during our TV shoot.
“Finally, the convenience of all of the amenities you’d need on site plays a huge role in a relaxing trip.”
Comfortable accommodations along with a nice restaurant where you can bring your catch to have it prepared, an on-site dive and tackle center with ice and drinks available to stock the boat with. And being just a few minutes from town, if you need to grab any incidentals you may have forgotten- all add to the easier experience she’s looking for.
She added that it didn’t hurt that the resort has activities on land for recreation such as golf and a spa in the event that mom decided to take a day off from boating and relax on her own. After considering each of these points it became as clear as the local waters why this would indeed be an ideal destination for the next Hargrave vacation.